4 months clean of smoking and this shortness of breath killing me how much longer? Is this even from healing?

Ive posted before and I was doing great with 4 months of smoke free. Tonight a bad episode of shortness of breath. How much longer til its gone? Doctors said no copd and no asthma but this is driving me nuts. Ekg and blood work and xrays and ct scans all normal. Is this even worth it? Is it just from anxiety as since ive quit I take a low dose from time to time. The annoying part I even get short of breath sometimes just from talking for a period of time and have dizzy spells. Im a fit person but haven't exercised since I quit. Smoked ten years a pack a day started at 26. They say this isn't long and I should be ok from the smoking but man why the SOB like someone stepping on my chest and just from talking I have to catch up. Some words of encouragement as im losing my mind here and tired of feeling like shit.

28 Replies

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  • Hey Jarhead, glad you came on here and didn't succumb to the fags. Any chance of you starting to exercise again gently then? Even just brisk walking to start with. I've just had a couple of months off exercise and started back this week. What has really surprised me is how short of breath I get - where did that come from? :o You're lucky that you've had all the tests, great that they were all clear so now, onwards and upwards. Everbody's different and it WILL get better. I think it must be anxiety - why not come and join in the Daily Chat and moan on there and have a laugh as well. It really is a good distraction. You're in it for the long haul and we all expect to see you on here later. Andi :)

  • Thanks everyone and yes this all sucks. I always notice the shortness of breath when im just sitting down doing nothing or talking. If im busy working on something it never comes as my mind is elsewhere. Its driving me nuts as it seems when its time to relax I cant cause then the breathing problems. Not sure if I should go to a pulmonologist since every other doctor has tested me including the allergist who said no copd or no asthma. wondering if it would be a waste of my time. I just want to know this is all worth it and at some point itll go away. Always in the back of my mind I was a Marine in the Iraq war and worry that maybe there was some exposure to something which is causing it. Its always in the back of my mind as ive heard stories of weird lung diseases among other things. Anyways keep in touch and good luck to you all and ill try to join the chats if I can figure out how. Although it seems like a lot of people in here are from the UK so might be hard to talk since in different time zones as im in central US. Good luck keep in touch

  • Hey bud I'm having the same thing. I stopped because I started getting shortness of breath and I been 5 days and I get winded sitting down or just even bending over. When I'm at work I don't think about it. I even went walking and jogging for a couple miles and even for the runners high. It only hits when I'm sitting down or laying down to go to sleep. I think it is the nerves and it dosent make it better when u think there is something wrong when all in all your getting much more oxygen to your body than you use to and your body isn't sure how to except it. That's a positive thought. But stay strong I'm just trying to figure out what to do on my breaks or the time when I'm at home and have a chill time.. Other than that 5 days and don't think about smoking anymore started at age 13 now I'm 27. I refuse to,the early and my wife date another,man or a man help raise my kids.... Keep trucking buddy u can do it!

  • Hi Jarhead. I'm only 6 weeks smoke free but, like you, I am freaked out by how crap I feel. I had my bloods and ECG done, and they are all clear. Got more tests next week. When I ask my doctor if how I am feeling is directly related to stopping smoking, he looks at me a bit bemused (which is worrying). The medical world has invested a lot in finding out the effects of smoking, and encouraging us to give up. I think they need to invest a bit in finding out the full effects of giving up and help us out a bit or at least reassure us that feeling crap is normal. If it wasn't for communities like this one we would really be going out of our minds.

  • Hi Jarhead, Sounds a bit like anxiety to me, Andi is right try to exercise a bit more. When your talking remember to slow down and take deep breaths. I too have sob and its mainly due to anxiety but slowing down and exercise does help. :)

  • Thanks everyone and yes this all sucks. I always notice the shortness of breath when im just sitting down doing nothing or talking. If im busy working on something it never comes as my mind is elsewhere. Its driving me nuts as it seems when its time to relax I cant cause then the breathing problems. Not sure if I should go to a pulmonologist since every other doctor has tested me including the allergist who said no copd or no asthma. wondering if it would be a waste of my time. I just want to know this is all worth it and at some point itll go away. Always in the back of my mind I was a Marine in the Iraq war and worry that maybe there was some exposure to something which is causing it. Its always in the back of my mind as ive heard stories of weird lung diseases among other things. Anyways keep in touch and good luck to you all and ill try to join the chats if I can figure out how. Although it seems like a lot of people in here are from the UK so might be hard to talk since in different time zones as im in central US. Good luck keep in touch

  • Hi jarhead, I am with you will be 4 months smoke free on Monday and I too have SOB. I am exercising regularly now and Doctor similarly says chest clear etc, I do get out of breath when talking and think maybe jillygirl is right and this is anxiety, back at Doctors next week to try and find out, it's driving me nuts too all the best x

  • Thanks everyone and yes this all sucks. I always notice the shortness of breath when im just sitting down doing nothing or talking. If im busy working on something it never comes as my mind is elsewhere. Its driving me nuts as it seems when its time to relax I cant cause then the breathing problems. Not sure if I should go to a pulmonologist since every other doctor has tested me including the allergist who said no copd or no asthma. wondering if it would be a waste of my time. I just want to know this is all worth it and at some point itll go away. Always in the back of my mind I was a Marine in the Iraq war and worry that maybe there was some exposure to something which is causing it. Its always in the back of my mind as ive heard stories of weird lung diseases among other things. Anyways keep in touch and good luck to you all and ill try to join the chats if I can figure out how. Although it seems like a lot of people in here are from the UK so might be hard to talk since in different time zones as im in central US. Good luck keep in touch

  • Hi Jarhead :)

    Wow 4 months is brilliant, pleased you didn't give in and have smoke, as it's guys like you that give us newbies the inspiration and strength to carry on. Plus imagine if you had lit a fag.... Ewwww the smell and you would def be coughing up so that would make the breathlessness worse. Hmmm I am a bit of a dim one as I thought sob stood for son of a bi*ch! Hmmmm no hope for me huh lol!!!

    X

  • Thanks everyone and yes this all sucks. I always notice the shortness of breath when im just sitting down doing nothing or talking. If im busy working on something it never comes as my mind is elsewhere. Its driving me nuts as it seems when its time to relax I cant cause then the breathing problems. Not sure if I should go to a pulmonologist since every other doctor has tested me including the allergist who said no copd or no asthma. wondering if it would be a waste of my time. I just want to know this is all worth it and at some point itll go away. Always in the back of my mind I was a Marine in the Iraq war and worry that maybe there was some exposure to something which is causing it. Its always in the back of my mind as ive heard stories of weird lung diseases among other things. Anyways keep in touch and good luck to you all and ill try to join the chats if I can figure out how. Although it seems like a lot of people in here are from the UK so might be hard to talk since in different time zones as im in central US. Good luck keep in touch

  • Hi jarhead, Yep sounds like anxiety to me, I recognize the symptoms, the girls are right a little light exercise and the deap breathing does help.

    We have to find a lot of strength to control these feelings, and yes it's bloody hard !!

    It will get better, we just have to keep telling our brain this, as the saying goes ' Mind over Body ' ;-)

    We are all in it together on here, all feeling or felt like S--t at times.

    We will win this battle, :-) keep in touch, :-) You are doing great at 4 months quit.

  • Thanks everyone and yes this all sucks. I always notice the shortness of breath when im just sitting down doing nothing or talking. If im busy working on something it never comes as my mind is elsewhere. Its driving me nuts as it seems when its time to relax I cant cause then the breathing problems. Not sure if I should go to a pulmonologist since every other doctor has tested me including the allergist who said no copd or no asthma. wondering if it would be a waste of my time. I just want to know this is all worth it and at some point itll go away. Always in the back of my mind I was a Marine in the Iraq war and worry that maybe there was some exposure to something which is causing it. Its always in the back of my mind as ive heard stories of weird lung diseases among other things. Anyways keep in touch and good luck to you all and ill try to join the chats if I can figure out how. Although it seems like a lot of people in here are from the UK so might be hard to talk since in different time zones as im in central US. Good luck keep in touch

  • Thanks everyone and yes this all sucks. I always notice the shortness of breath when im just sitting down doing nothing or talking. If im busy working on something it never comes as my mind is elsewhere. Its driving me nuts as it seems when its time to relax I cant cause then the breathing problems. Not sure if I should go to a pulmonologist since every other doctor has tested me including the allergist who said no copd or no asthma. wondering if it would be a waste of my time. I just want to know this is all worth it and at some point itll go away. Always in the back of my mind I was a Marine in the Iraq war and worry that maybe there was some exposure to something which is causing it. Its always in the back of my mind as ive heard stories of weird lung diseases among other things. Anyways keep in touch and good luck to you all and ill try to join the chats if I can figure out how. Although it seems like a lot of people in here are from the UK so might be hard to talk since in different time zones as im in central US. Good luck keep in touch.

  • Jarhead,just try and stay focused,do some deep breathing and if your shortness of breath doesn't improve go back to your doctor's office and say you want to see a Pulmonologist (I guess you have insurance ??!!) it's different here we have the jolly old NHS!! At least if you see a pulmonologist then you'll know if there's a problem or not. You're doing really well my friend so don't despair all will be well.H

  • Hey jarhead,

    Im approaching 5 months and still get SOB and still cough up brown crap!!

    You have to remember what you have been putting in your lungs all these years. Your healing, but it's going to take some time, maybe up to a year!

    Remember how yellow your fingers were when you smoked? Now imagine all that rubbish on your lungs.

    Try and do a little exercise, even a walk. Keeping active will help the healing process.

    For anxiety keeping calm and relaxed is really important. Slow down your breathing if you feel anxious. A good way to do this is by placing your hand on your tummy and focus. Watching your hand rise and fall with your breathing.

    Also you need to remain positive. Smoking is a killer, have no doubts about that! Just keep going everyday will get better.

    Ian

  • I am over a Year without tobacco, guess what? I am puffy and out of breath, I do have lung probs but have been assured 1/ they were not caused by smoking 2/ they will get better.

    I think it is probably just your body adapting to not having old nick.

    Give it time.

  • I cannot even count how many times I've quit. I even quit for 5 months one time and went back. A year ago I tried an e-cig and it changed my husband's life. He quit for good. I secretly smoked when I had the chance for another year. But finally I had enough. I've been 6 weeks without a cigarette and I am using my e-cigs and I can honestly say I am certain I will never go back. With that said, each time I quit I had the exact symptoms you are talking about. SOB, felt like I was inflating, tightness in the chest, etc... Only one doctor made a suggestion that perhaps the cilia in my lungs were trying to come "alive" again. She suggested I try Mucinex and maybe that would help loosen things up. That was several years ago and I can't remember if it helped or not because I always went back to the cigs and it went away. You may want to try Mucinex. I'm having the breathing difficulties starting again. I really think it's a normal reaction of some kind, maybe the body is just trying to regulate the added oxygen you have. And since your medical tests came back ok then it's better to live with some unexplained SOB than to die of lung cancer. You're still young and only smoked ten years please stay the course and know that sooner or later everything will stabilize.

  • To rule out COPD, you have to either have spirometry or pulmonary function tests done. A chest x ray won't do it, and I don't think a CT will either. Not trying to freak you out any more than you already are, but a lot of people get misdiagnosed because they haven't gotten the right test done. (Asthmatic for 35 years, smoked for 25 years, emphysema for 6 years.)

  • I smoked for 16 years 1 pack a day, half of the period was Marlboro reds other half was lights. It's been 6 years now after quitting. All good. First 2 month after quitting is when u start feeling short breaths episodes, but that's good because u know ur windpipe is stuffed with all that poison and now it starts to heal its self by producing mucus, that mucus should clean the poison stuck to the windpipe, to be more specific, there are tiny hairs all over the wind pipe called cilia, those cilia when covered with mucus gives u the feeling of short breaths, it shouldn't be long before it starts cleaning its self, but warning to those who take small doses from time to time, u might never heal from it, as you are teaching ur body to adapt to the low dose which in return should always keep ur windpipe filled with mucus and therefore, never feel better. After just 5-6 month my breath was all clear, I wouldn't say normal like non-smokers but atleast never felt like that since I was a little kid. But the good news is it'll always feel better every month. Even the heart palpitations disappeared without intervention the 1st month after quitting.

  • Hi all, although this is an old post i created an account solely to comment on this with what worked for me.

    Im 18 years old and smoked for 3 years, 6weeks clean, and have been experiancing exactly the same as all of you are describing.

    If its the same thing, what you all are experincing is colloquially known as "air hunger" or more formally "Dysnpea". This can be a sign of a serious diseases, however like you all have said it can be from stress/ anxiety among other things. (The probable cause in most of your situations).

    The symptoms i experienced were that i often couldnt get a deep breath, and was yawning alot. Spent hours upon hours searching the internet for a cure and eventually stumbled upon "Buteyko breathing".

    A little bit complex but a basic google searche will fully educate you on how to get started. The aim of this breathing technique is to actually breathe less, sounds crazy but bear with me.

    If you want to do a little test, lay on your side and do small and short breaths, about 2 seconds in and 2 seconds out SOLELY through your nose. Never fully empty your lungs or completely fill them. Do this for 10 minutes and see how you feel! Itll be a little bit unconfortable to start with but try and stick to it, but dont suffocate yourself! If you need that deep breath definitely take it! Dont push too hard!

    We are all experiencing a massive increase of oxygen and a massive decrease of carbon dioxide since we quit and our bodies don't know how to deal with it properly. CO2 is used to distribute oxygen around the body, so too much oxygen and constant deep breaths can make it worse. ill leave a link to a short video explaining how too much oxygen/ to little CO2 messes with our bodies! Deep breathing exercies made me feel worse not better! Buteyko breathing is used in the UK for asthma but our GPs fail to mention it to us for other problems due to lack of research.

    Ill end on saying this is just my personal experience, im not a doctor and if you have continuing concerns keep up the visits to your GP! It could be serious! Im just sharing what worked for me! Apologies for the essay but just had to share as i know how uncomfortable it can get.

    Josh

  • Hi ya Joshcyprus, a big warm welcome to our lovely quit forum we have here :) and a big massive well done to you for reaching 6 weeks quit :) :) If you could please let me know your quit date, then I can add you to the Wall of Winners and award you with your Winners badge when the time is right :)

    Hmmmm, as for the Buteyko breathing exercise, I personally have never heard of it, but due to a late finish at work and the flippin traffic, I havnt got any time tonight to have a good look at it :o but I will :)

    Josh, your doing ever so well on your quit journey, soooo you just keep on with it and remember NOPE, Not One Puff Ever :) Speak soon.

    Pete :)

  • Hello all you lovely members :) :)

    If I may ask you :o have you ever heard of the Buteyko breathing :o have you tried it :o did it work for you :o

    I would love to hear your responses please :)

    Thank youuuu :)

    Pete :)

  • Hi there Pete, thank you for your nice reply! My last cigarette was on the 23rd July :)

    Its concerning how uncommon Buteyko breathing is :/ A large majority of medical trials are funded and run by pharmaceutical companies, and Buteyko is based purely on breathing techniques, so with no potential profit for these companies there isn't anyone to bother funding trials.

    Although this is not an over night fix, but after a few days i began to feel much better, and the breaths iv'e began taking lately i cant actually remember ever having taken before, not in this crisp depth.

    There was a BBC 1 documentary on it in 1998 and the results were astounding; asthmatics puffing inhalers multiple times a day cut off them completely or made large reductions in their medicine consumption. But since then, there has been little to no research apart from a small Australian based trial, one of the three countries that now use it for asthmatics alongside the UK and Russia :)

    I have an absolute archive of video links and research if anyone wants them :) Its become almost a little obsession of mine D:

    Like Pete said, is there anyone else that has tried or found success through Buteyko? Would also absolutely love to hear how it went for you! :)

    Josh

  • Hi Josh/Pete I joined Buteyko last week, I am 69 Years old asthmatic all my life and stopped smoking 10 weeks ago I smoked around 7 cigs a day for the last 14 years, but since quitting really short of breath so decided to try Buteyko, I am finding it quite difficult to change a lifetime way of breathing but can definitely see the science behind it and it may take 6 months or longer to master but find when I consciously practice my breathing is better, the long and the short of it is SHUT YOUR MOUTH breath only thru your nose and breath from your diaphragm, no deep breathing. yawning, coughing etc with your mouth closed (this is interesting to do) just remember mouth is for food not breathing. Do get onto the website because there are breathing exercises you can do. Good luck to you all and I have my fingers crossed and my mouth closed that our breathing will get better

  • Hi mysenator and welcome to quit support😊

    Congrats on your 10 weeks quit, you're doing really well🚭👍🏼 Delighted to hear that the Buteyko breathing is helping you. Thankyou for sharing this with us.

    If you let us know your quit date, our lovely admin will sort out a winners badge for ya. Keep practicing and your reward will be better breathing even if it does take time. It will certainly be worth it.

    Good luck and NOPE not one puff ever🍀🚭🚭🚭

    We will look forward to your updates so please let us know how you get on😊

  • Thanks Briarwood, quit on 2nd September 2016 and thanks for allowing me to join the group

  • Hi mysenator welcome, and really well done on 10wks quit👍 thank you for sharing this with us as I know a few members suffer with asthma/breathing difficulties so this could be really useful to them also. Do keep us posted as briarwood says and do keep going with this fab quit. I have awarded you a well deserved winners badge 😄

  • I'm wondering how you've made out with shortness of breath and how long before it subsided?

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